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House Insurance Committee

            The House Insurance Committee got up and running this week with three bills set for their first hearing. HB 75 is the Workers’ Compensation Budget that received sponsor/proponent testimony from the BWC’s interim Administrator. While all budget bills must go through the House Finance Committee before going to the floor for a vote, it is not uncommon for the subject-specific budgets (Transportation, Workers’ Compensation, Industrial Commission) to go to other committees for more specific testimony before going back to the Finance Committee for a vote.

            The second bill receiving a hearing was HB 122, introduced by Representatives Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) and Adam Holmes (R-Nashport), which pertains to regulating telehealth services and prohibiting health benefit plans from charging more for telehealth services than what they would charge for the same service rendered in person. The bill would also expand the number of healthcare providers permitted to provide their services via telehealth, including several types of therapists, psychologists, and licensed social workers.

            The final bill on the agenda was HB 125, jointly sponsored by Reps. Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) and Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville), regarding the prohibition of passing on the costs of reinsurance by health insurers to high risk individuals, and the codification in state law of several provisions in the federal Affordable Care Act. Should the Affordable Care Act be either repealed or somehow found to be unconstitutional, HB 125 would maintain several provisions of the ACA as required under state law.

Senate Insurance Committee

            The Senate Insurance Committee was one of the earlier committees up and running, with the committee holding sponsor and proponent testimony in prior weeks for SB 27, sponsored by Senator (and President Pro Tempore) Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), who is also a member of the Insurance Committee. The bill authorizes state agencies to elect to require automatic enrollment of new state employees in the Ohio Public Employees Deferred Compensation Program and prescribes procedures for employees to opt out of that enrollment. This week, SB 27 was set for proponent/opponent/interested party testimony, and with no one attending to testify, the committee decided to go ahead and vote the bill out of committee unanimously.

            As the legislative session progresses, we will be sure to see more insurance and financial services-related legislation come before the various committees. I will be sure to keep you up to date on those pieces of legislation and any regulatory developments proposed by our friends at the Ohio Department of Insurance. As always, feel free to email me with any questions you may have.